Janet Acker

Associate Professor and M.S.S.W. Program Director


Ph.D School of Social WelfareUniversity at Albany, State University of New York
M.S.S.WSchool of Social Work Practice, Programming and SupervisionColumbia University
M.Div.Psychiatry and ReligionUnion Theological Seminary
B.M.Music/BusinessDepauw University

Professional Experience

Over the last 30 years, I have developed clinical expertise in mental health, end of life/hospice care, HIV/AIDS, adoption and foster care, and case management.  I am passionate about using this rich body of work as a clinician, advocate, supervisor, administrator, and field instructor as a catalyst for teaching professional excellence and engaging students in their own process of experiential learning in practice settings.  My professional work experience and continuing connection to advances in the field helps make learning vibrant and provides students with the opportunity for practical application of concepts, models and skills.   I have held appointments at Columbia University, New York University, University at Albany, and Union College and have been teaching at The College of Saint Rose since 2010.   My newest role is as M.S.S.W. Program Director, and I am excited for the opportunities this program will afford aspiring practitioners throughout the region to further their professional abilities and careers

Teaching Interests

My teaching focuses on integrating classroom concepts and theories with practical application in the field and on the continuum of social work practice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels of society.  It is only with this systemic understanding can we effectively serve the individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations within our society.


  • Promoting Well-Being in Clinical Practice
  • Psychopathology
  • Field Practicum
  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Advanced Research


  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Practice with Individuals and Families I
  • Practice with Individuals and Families II
  • Field Practicum
  • Mental Health and Social Work
  • Practice in Organizations and Communities
  • Family Violence
  • Family Dynamics
  • Social Change and Social Services
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment II
  • Junior Field Experience
  • Field Practicum

Research/Creative Works

My current research is focused on the critical examination of mental health models, the promotion of client self-determination and informed consent, and the exploration of stress and coping skills of college students.

  • A Home for the Dying: A PhotoVoice Research Initiative. A. Neveu & J. Acker.  Annual Conference (2018). New York State Social Work Educators Association
  • Creating Safe Spaces for Diverse Voices. Provisions (2018). The College of Saint Rose
  • Promoting Self-Determination in Mental Health – Helping Clients Critically Assess the Benefits and Risks of Medication. Social Work Month (2016). University at Albany, SUNY
  • Practice Setting Safety: Students, Field Agencies and Social Work Field Education Partnership. J. Acker & T. Ciarfella.  Annual Program Meeting (2014). Council on Social Work Education
  • When Helping Hurts: Social Justice and Psychiatric Medications. J. Acker & D. Reyome. Social Justice Week( 2013), The College of Saint Rose
  • Kaye, L., Warner, L., Lewandowski, C., Greene, R., Acker, J., & Chiarella, N.   The role of nurse practitioners in meeting the need for child and adolescent psychiatric services: a state-wide survey. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2009.
  • Kaye, L., Lewandowski, C., Greene, R., Acker, J., Chiarella, N.  Assessing and Addressing the Need for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists in New York State: Report on a County Wide Telephone Survey. 2008 The Center for Human Services Research, University at Albany
  • Strategic Options for Advocates. Welfare and Child Welfare Reforms: A Dialogue Between Communities and Policy MakersAnnual Conference (1998). Court Appointed Special Advocates
  • The Role of the Law Guardian. Annual  Conference (1997). NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault .
  • Corporate Mentoring.  Annual Conference (1992), Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America